High Class Mainlanders or Low Class Thieves?

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Friday July 25, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

One obviously cannot and should not tar all Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) members with the same brush but two recent happenings continue to reveal the deep-rooted problems that Taiwan both had and still has with the KMT. The first of which is the shameless efforts of Kuo Kuan-ying to scrounge a few dollars more for his retirement fund; at first this appears to be individualistic. The second is more involved and concerns the long-standing problems that Taiwan has had with the KMT as well as the ineffective role of the Control Yuan (CY). All are significant, and they need to be viewed, not separately, but as part of the continuing whole and unfortunate residue of the KMT's one-party state days.

Begin with the case of Kuo Kuan-ying. Here is a man who, in 2009, was sacked from his governmental position with the now defunct Government Information Office (GIO). At that time it was discovered that Kuo had written several derogatory and racist rants against the Taiwanese even though he had tried hiding behind a pen name. The gist of the remarks was that he saw himself as a "high class Mainlander" who unfortunately had to spend his days working for low class Taiwanese "taibazi" (rednecks) and questioned the nation's sovereignty. Kuo lost his government job and pension for that.

Now in early 2014, the downsized and also near defunct Taiwan Provincial Government (TPG) has all of a sudden created a position for a foreign affairs advisor (as if it needed that). Kuo immediately put in his application. In the first two stages of the screening process, Kuo scored much lower than other candidates, but then in a rush to judgment in the final stage of evaluation, he suddenly jumped ahead of all contenders and was selected.

It did not end there; he was barely a couple of weeks into this plumb job when he immediately applied for retirement (he was on the verge of being 65). This raised all sorts of questions and flags. The first is obvious. Why would the TPG hire a disgraced man who is at the brink of retirement age for a questionable position especially when it would have to go through the same process once more in less than six months? The second flag was even more obvious and even laughable if it did not mean that Taiwanese citizens would have to shell out some NT$60,000 a month for the rest of this man's life. Here was Kuo, this self-professed and alleged "high class Mainlander" acting in reality like a low class thief. It was past KMT hypocrisy writ large.

Enter the Control Yuan (CY). When this job was created and the selection process of the Taiwan Provincial Government was investigated and challenged by Control Yuan member Chien Lin Hui-chun, legitimate fault was found. But all that resulted from this was that the CY issued the aforesaid provincial government a reprimand, tantamount to a slap on the wrist.

Now if this was simply a matter of the "high class" Kuo Kuan-ying showing how he would easily stoop to low class means to salvage a personal pension, it would be as was said shameful and laughable, but it goes much deeper and points to a consistent and constant KMT modus vivendi. Involved here is a deep-rooted sense of the KMT priority to reward its "loyal" members regardless of how culpable, grasping and criminal they may be. Kuo is not the first nor will he be the last.

Further there is more than one guilty person here. Kuo's position had to be created and approved by a number of people in an ongoing, well-oiled apparatus and system. That system is a system that was brought to Taiwan and run by a cadre of KMT stalwarts that care primarily for the party and its people and always place them before the nation. It is déjà vu over and over again for anyone that has any sense of what happened in China on the other side of the Taiwan Strait. It was because of this same practice coupled with the sense of "high class" cronyism and corruption (greed for short) that the KMT lost the minds and hearts of the Chinese people to the Communists in China. And now, here were these same people like carpetbaggers, fleecing Taiwan and perpetuating their same practices over and over again.

This brings us back to the current problems with the Control Yuan (CY), the alleged nation's watchdog. This toothless tiger has long outgrown its usefulness if it ever had any. The CY is yet another means not only of "reward" for loyal party members but even a means for the party or president to reward their favorites. The president can even use it to stack the deck for upcoming troubles if he so judges. In effect he can be creating his own personal protection force for the present and the future.

Thus it is ironic that both the Presidential office and the KMT spokespersons now cry wolf and say that a crisis is in the wings. If one can think back to when Chen Shui-bian of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was president, with little worry of crisis, the KMT dominated Legislative Yuan refused any and all appointees that Chen put forward. Then it was not a matter of questioning the credentials of Chen's appointees but more a flat denial of any of his applications. In effect the KMT was saying that it would rather leave the nation without a watchdog than allow anyone appointed by Chen or the DPP be given a position in the Control Yuan.

The situation today, however, is even worse. Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou is in his last two years of office and is putting forth members for the CY that even some of his own party find questionable. Yet Ma pushes on wanting to have his appointees approved without proper deliberation just as he has similarly wanted all the elements of Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) given a rubber stamp approval without proper investigation. What is happening? Such insistence adds the possibility of something even more sinister and corrupt than the rewards of cronyism into the mix.

Ma Ying-jeou is one who has always tried to fit square pegs into round holes, whether it be his belief that the Republic of China (ROC) with its outdated 1947 Constitution should be de rigueur for Taiwan and the world or that the fantasy of the 1992 Consensus be perpetuated. Additionally his actions bear out that emperor-like he has no idea of what governing in a democracy means. But despite that and however obtuse, incompetent and/or a bumbler he may be, that does not mean that he is not calculating. The CY positions will be for six years. And this means that these personally rewarded cronies of Ma will have judgmental power not only for the remaining two years of Ma's presidency but for the next four years regardless of who or what party gains the presidency in 2016. Ma knows how he twisted and used the system with a double standard to persecute Chen Shui-bian. Now he is apparently seeking several monopolistic get-out-of-jail-free cards for the future. It is carpetbagger insurance in spades regardless of what damage Ma can or may do to the nation in his final two years. Kuo Kuan-ying has nothing on Ma and Taiwan is not done with the past corruption of the KMT by a long shot.